Kohima, Aug 25: In Nagaland, no matter what you earn, you would need a little bit more to keep the cadres of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) or NSCN(K) happy who undertake a major extortion racket. While in investigation circles the terminology is extortion, the NSCN(K) prefers to call it as tax.
Not paying is not an option and the people of Nagaland have given up hopes that this scenario would change anytime soon.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has begun a probe into the extortion network of the NSCN(K) in Nagaland will start off by questioning Kheroshe Sumi, a cadre who played a big role in this extortion racket.
The NSCN (K) faction was banned for five years after it was declared a terrorist organisation by the Union Government in November 2015. The leader of this outfit, S S Khaplang is believed to be in Myanmar. He has entered into a truce with the government in 2001.
However, all attempts to broker peace failed with Khaplang sticking to his demand for an independent Northeast and the Naga-inhabited areas in Myanmar. Khaplang however, repealed the cease fire agreement on April 2015.
Not paying not an option
The people of Nagaland are pinning their hopes on the probe by the NIA. The NSCN(K) has been the most notorious when it comes to collecting tax. The tax amount ranges between Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 on an annual basis. However, there is no guarantee that if the sum is paid they would not come back the same year for more.
When the police in Nagaland arrested Sumi, they had learnt that the tax was being collected on an annual basis. He on the other hand, told the police that if the outfit was running out of funds, they would go back and collect more even if a person had paid the annual sum. Only children were exempted from the tax.
The people have complained very often that not paying was never an option. Apart from earning their livelihood they had to earn extra so that they had enough money when the NSCN(K) cadres came knocking on their doors.
Failure to pay the amount only resulted in death, the people have complained.
Police officers say that even when the ceasefire agreement was in place the Khaplang faction would collect tax. After the April 2015 repeal of the ceasefire violation the faction has only become more agressive.